Facebook Reading Private WhatsApp Messages

Many people believe that WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption with every message that is being sent. If this was really the case, then no one would be able to read the messages, not even the people from WhatsApp, because that is the true nature of end-to-end encryption.

This is also stated exactly like this on the WhatsApp Website:
“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is used when you chat with another person using WhatsApp Messenger. End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.”

It turns out that all of this is a lie. “In 2018, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told Congress, ‘We don’t see any of the content in WhatsApp.’ In fact, the company, which owns WhatsApp, pays contract workers to read millions of private messages.” Source: childrenshealthdefense.org

Another lie from another Big Tech CEO who tells the entire world how important privacy is, and how dedicated his company is to offering online privacy to the customers. You may wonder, how is it technically possible for the company to do this, to read those “encrypted messages?”

“The loophole in WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is simple: The recipient of any WhatsApp message can flag it. Once flagged, the message is copied on the recipient’s device and sent as a separate message to Facebook for review.”

“Messages are typically flagged—and reviewed—for the same reasons they would be on Facebook itself, including claims of fraud, spam, child porn, and other illegal activities….”

“Although nothing indicates that Facebook currently collects user messages without manual intervention by the recipient, it’s worth pointing out that there is no technical reason it could not do so.”
Source: arstechnica.com

What a weird situation. First Facebook tells us they don’t read WhatsApp messages at all. Then it becomes clear that they ARE reading flagged messages. And, last but not least, we learn that they could read even more messages if they wanted to, that this is technically possible. And we are supposed to trust Facebook and WhatsApp?

Instead of using WhatsApp for your private messages, I would strongly encourage you to find an alternative, like, for example, the Session Messenger.  This Open Source app makes it truly impossible for anyone but the sender and the receiver to read the end to end encrypted messages. Privacy based on technology, not privacy based on trust. Check it out!

The Most Secure Messenger App – Session

I have written some posts about online privacy before, because it is important. I want to add a post about what I believe is the most secure messenger available at the moment: Session.

“What is Session? Session is an end-to-end encrypted messenger that minimizes sensitive metadata, designed and built for people who want absolute privacy and freedom from any form of surveillance.” Source: Session website. 

Until recently, I thought Telegram was absolutely secure, but Telegram doesn’t offer complete end-to-end encryption of messages, as Session does. Telegram is still a great app for uncensored social media groups, but not as secure for messaging as Session.

Even Signal, one favorite of Edward Snowden, does not offer the level of security that Session offers. For Signal you still need a phone number, and some metadata is sent with the messages. With Session, this is not the case.

Session takes a number of additional steps to protect your identity:
– No phone number is required for registration
– No email is required for registration
– No geolocation data, device data, or metadata is collected
Source: Restore Privacy website.

The Session app works on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. So if you value your online privacy, take a look and check it out!


Is Privacy a Human Right?

For my blog, and out of sheer curiosity, I have been experimenting with all kinds of online privacy solutions, like Protonmail, the Brave browser and Monkkee. The last and most efficient tool I have tried is Linux Kodachi, which offers a way to surf the net completely anonymous.

Linux Kodachi is even more private and secure than Linux Tails.  What is also interesting to know, is that the NSA tracks people who are interested in Tails and Tor or related privacy tools. But once you are online using either Tails or Kodachi, even the NSA cannot track you.

When I was online, and surfing completely anonymously, I wondered, “Is this a basic right? Is privacy a human right?” I was not 100% sure they covered this in formal agreements, so I decided to check this out. And yes, privacy is a basic human right!

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, Article 12 states:
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
Source: humanrightsmedia.org

It was a relief for me to read this. I am still doing research about all these topics, having only been blogging about this since the beginning of this year. It also made me realize that the NSA is a criminal organization, which is not serving the public.

What can we do against such violations of our basic human rights, by governments? One thing we can do is to support organizations which take action, like Privacy International. By either donating or signing one of their petitions, you can take meaningful action.

“Governments and corporations are using technology to exploit us. Their abuses of power threaten our freedoms and the very things that make us human.”

“That’s why PI is here: to protect democracy, defend people’s dignity, and demand accountability from institutions who breach public trust.”

So yes, (online) privacy is a basic human right. And like all human rights, this right is currently under attack. But there are people and organizations which are fighting back to restore this right to us, and they need and deserve our support.

Of course, never fall for the lame statement that has been used already too many times: “If you have nothing to hide, you don’t need privacy, do you?” This is such a cheap attempt to manipulate people that it doesn’t even warrant an answer. Ignore this nonsense.

Alright. Please support everyone who fights for the human right to privacy. And don’t forget to protect your privacy, online and offline, against Big Corp and the governments who spy on you. Until we have cleaned house thoroughly, this will be something that clearly needs to be done.

Recommended Website – Riseup.net

Recently I discovered a wonderful website from an organisation dedicated “to aid in the creation of a free society, a world with freedom from want and freedom of expression, a world without oppression or hierarchy, where power is shared equally.”

As stated on the Riseup website:  “We believe it is vital that essential communication infrastructure be controlled by movement organizations and not corporations or the government.”

The great reset has made it abundantly clear that corporations or governments cannot be trusted to always focus on the best interests of the people. This means that we still live in a world where organizations like “The Riseup Collective” are needed.

Which tools does this platform offer?
Secure email
Mailing lists for organizations
Private chat
VPN services
Secure file sharing
Group collaboration tools

Please check out the Riseup website for more details on what they offer. Watch the fundraising video below and if you have the means, please support this wonderful initiative. Stay free and help everyone else to stay free too!

Tails – Ultimate Online Privacy

We have known for decades that the governments of the world spy on other countries, and their own citizens. Just how far-reaching this surveillance is nowadays, became clear when Edward Snowden revealed a lot about NSA practices, also shown in the movie Snowden (2016). 

What can we do about this, besides changing the whole political system? How can you protect your privacy online? I have already mentioned a couple of options in a previous article, “Five Big Tech Alternatives”, where I recommend the Brave browser and Proton Email, among others.

A beautiful option I have tested recently is the Tails system, which allows you to be online anonymously by using an operation system that you put on a USB stick. Tails is the most private way to surf, perfectly suited for those who want or need to be anonymous.

“To use Tails, shut down the computer and start on your Tails USB stick instead of starting on Windows, macOS, or Linux. You can temporarily turn your own computer into a secure machine. You can also stay safe while using the computer of somebody else.”

“Tails always starts from the same clean state and everything you do disappears automatically when you shut down Tails. Without Tails, almost everything you do can leave traces on the computer:
– Websites that you visited, even in private mode
– Files that you opened, even if you deleted them
– Passwords, even if you use a password manager
– All the devices and Wi-Fi networks that you used”
Read more. 

This is what Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, tweeted about Tails:
“If you look at the way post-2013 whistleblowers have been caught, it is clear the absolute most important thing you can do to maintain your anonymity is reduce the number of places in your operational activity where you can make mistakes. Tor and Tails still do precisely that.”

The Tails operating system, which is available for free, is an excellent option for those who value their privacy. It does not have to be used all the time, depending on what you do, but all you have to do is carry a USB stick with Tails around to use it when you need it.

To learn how Tails works and to get Tails, check out this link. And if you have any recommendations for tools which help with ensuring better online privacy, please let me know.